Last updated on October 4th, 2017 at 02:24 am
The Tennessee State University football Tigers scored 20 unanswered points in the first half of their 2014 Homecoming game, and hung on to soundly thrash the Florida A&M University Rattlers by a final score of 27-7 in front of 29,225 spectators at LP Field.
The TSU (4-1, 1-0 OVC) defense scored two touchdowns in the contest and held the Rattlers (0-4, 0-0 MEAC) to only 224 total yards. Offensively, Ronald Butler started his second consecutive game at quarterback for TSU and finished the game 12-of-27 for 151 yards.
A 30-yard punt return from De’Ante Saunders set up the TSU offense at its own 49-yard line and a 24-yard rush by Tom Smith later on the drive set up the only score of the first quarter—a 22-yard field goal by Lane Clark at the 7:18 mark. Butler led an 11-play, 95 yard scoring drive early in the second period, completing two long passes, one to Hakeem Parker for 18 yards and another to Archie Denard that went for 16. The aerial success led to a five-yard touchdown run by Telvin Hooks to increase the Tiger lead to 10-0.
Four plays later, true freshman Terrell Bonds picked off Damien Fleming’s crossing pattern and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. The defensive score put the home side up 17-0 with 7:19 left in the first half. Nick Thrasher got another interception for TSU and Clark booted a career-long 42-yard field goal to give TSU a 20-0 halftime lead.
The Rattlers finally punched it into the end zone at the 10:27 mark of the third quarter on a quarterback draw by Fleming. It was the only score of the period and capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive. The Tiger defense struck again in the fourth quarter as Roc-M Nesbitt stripped the ball away from Carson Royal and Samquan Evans scooped it up and scored from 12 yards out. The big play on defense iced the game and put the Tigers ahead 27-10 with seven minutes to play.
TSU is ranked No. 4 in the Boxtorow Coaches Poll and No. 4 in the Boxtorow Media Poll of HBCU teams. TSU is ranked in the Top 25 this week at No. 20, and the No. 1 ranked defense team in the FCS, allowing only 207.4 yards/game. The Tigers also rank fourth nationally in scoring defense (10.8 points/game allowed) and have allowed only two offensive touchdowns over the past 13 quarters of play. TSU has also returned an interception for a touchdown in three consecutive games. In the latest NCAA home attendance rankings, TSU ranks 10th with 16,328 fans/game.
Big Blue is on the road at the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (3-2, 1-0 OVC) this weekend. Kickoff is set for 1 pm, CT, on Saturday, Oct. 4 at Houck Stadium (10,000) in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Watch on the OVC Digital Network, or listen in on the Big Blue network, flagship FM102.1 The Light in Nashville.